Saturday, June 7, 2008

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge

I was tromping around Brooklyn Heights the other day, and since I've never walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, I decided to check this off my list instead of taking the subway back to Manhattan.

The Bridge just celebrated its 125th birthday last month. 600 workers were employed to build it, many below sea level in the waterproof caissons. Over 100 cases of decompression sickness were documented, and the name "the bends" became common around this time because of the way people would bend over in pain. It wasn't until 1878 that a French doctor figured out that nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream were responsible for causing all the problems, and a slow, steady ascent back up to sea level would prevent the bends from occurring. Even the Brooklyn Bridge project chief engineer suffered the bends and was crippled for three days. From his bed, he directed the project, using his wife as his liaison to the site. And for the rest of his life, he never fully recovered from his accident. The bends are scary. Always do your safety stops when ascending after a dive.

I took my stroll early Thursday afternoon. I was surprised how many people were also walking across, and they weren't all tourists. The walkway starts out as a cement path, but after you pass through the big arches, it turns into an old wooden plank sidewalk. Through the cracks you can see the East River below.

If you click on the pics, the original larger size photo will open up. I love Blogger. Such great features.

The second pic shows the Manhattan Bridge to the north, with the Empire State Building in the distance. The last pic is looking southwest to the Statue of Liberty.

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